Four weeks following its acquisition by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions, AffiliateTraction founder and former CEO Greg Shepard has described the merger as “the easiest and most difficult decision” of his career.

Shepard has since retained a role within the operation of the agency under new ownership, as chief strategy officer of eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions.

AffiliateTraction claims it had “entertained” alternative offers preceding its takeover in January, but an existing relationship with the acquiring firm’s CEO, Michael Jones, supplied a springboard to the merger.

“Having background as an agency, they were aware of our needs, but having shifted to a network, they didn’t view us as a direct competitor,” Shepard told PerformanceIN.

“Additionally, EEMS was well poised and eager to expand internationally and had worked closely with us to integrate technologies. Not only did we share a cooperative spirit, but we were headed on the same trajectory.”

A timely move

When Shepard handed over the reins in January, his parting words included claims that he had worked with “virtually every network in the world” as part of AffiliateTraction.

This allowed the agency to enjoy access to various networks’ technologies and unique affiliates, and its clients the exposure of a multi-network approach.

Over the years, however, Shepard comments that technologies and affiliates became ‘homogenised’ across platforms.

“The advantages of the multi-network strategy began to look less attractive when considering the efficiencies and improvements in scalability afforded by working in a single network.

“These efficiencies could, in-turn, enable a more high touch approach to address clients’ needs, which had become more nuanced as the affiliate channel evolved,“ said Shepard.  

The decision to merge derived from a combination of these factors, and puts the AffiliateTraction product, though under a different banner, on strong footing empowered by eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions’ full stack of resources.  

In turn, the latter will gain valuable tools and further agility in adapting to the evolving needs of major brands, says Shepard.

“We have a long list of technology in the pipe to benefit both merchants and publishers that is poised to reignite the spirit of innovation in the affiliate channel.”